I frequently write about my goals, but it doesn’t take long before a simple “goals” category starts to attract related posts as a dumping ground or “catch-all”. When I started posting about goals in earnest, back in about 2011, my initial thought was that I was really wanting to convey my “goals for the year”. That year, I created a layout that started with the four quadrants from the Insights Discovery personality profile model, and built upon it as my model. I developed it as my “go-forward” model, and thought it would become enduring, so I didn’t add the year.
In 2012, I updated the design, simplified the layers within the quadrants, and then added detailed tables to track my progress in multiple sub-categories, plus a bucket list.
In 2013, I combined the two previous designs a bit, thought it would be a regular way to display my to-do list (spoiler alert: it wasn’t!), and added the year.
In 2014, I ditched the circular idea, made it look more like my regular to do list with five levels of priority and multiple categories down the side, again looking for a look ‘n’ feel that I could use regularly. Spoiler alert #2 — it didn’t resonate with me.
In 2015, I was looking for a visual for the year — a banner to lead the charge, so to speak – and a visual to manage my regular updates. I started with the simple circle, added in the idea of a “quest”, tried putting it on a coat of arms, didn’t really work. Tried it on a couple of shields, it was okay. Not really resonating with me, but not horrendous. I created a list that showed my big goals for 2015 and my ongoing ones that I wanted to track, and another that would show more of a quantitative approach to measuring my regular updates. It worked well enough for the year, but I didn’t feel like I had my concepts “nailed”.
In 2016, my brain shifted a bit. I realized that essentially my problem was that I was trying to combine several things in a single image, and yet they were all at different levels of specificity and granularity. For the first level, I am really talking about a “personal development model”, and with a little work, I created this one.
I played with format a little bit in 2017, and just updated the colours for 2020 (the shading was off), but this is the new version, and I’m still quite happy with it. There’s just one teeny problem. Literally teeny — when I reduce it to Featured Image size (150px wide), it is too small to read the words on the graphic. So while I like the model, I can’t use it as a Featured Image.
But let’s stop for a moment and re-start the process. What do I need to represent? Ultimately, I have some 236 posts on my blog that relate to goals in some way. Within them, I have the following sub-categories:
- My overall “model” for goal setting (the personal development model above), and generally, the philosophy behind goals and personal planning;
- Actual goals (including annual goals, bucket list items, #50by50, and daily/weekly/monthly goals;
- Implementation (including measurement, tracking, progress reports, and weight loss as a specific multi-post topic.
It’s interesting when I break it down. While there are some 200+ entries, almost 15% of my entire blog, when I review the list I see that many of them seem to be in category 3. However, in actual fact, the posts themselves (aka the progress reports) are actually going to be part of other categories. For example, many of the to do items were related to my website setup and layout. The progress report on implementation does intersect with “goals” as a category, but I would say the main category in that case is my website, and so I would use the website logo instead.
If I think about my overall model, and what would not only look right in a small size but also communicate most of my model, I find myself a bit amused. It’s actually the original one above that I did back in 2012. I like the yin/yang symbol in it too. Sure, I need to update it, and when it is resized it will likely be too small to be read easily, but that’s okay. The look and feel is much better than the diamond model.
For the actual goals themselves, I played with a few options, but in the end, the one I like the best is a simple planner icon to talk about my annual goals.
For my daily, weekly, or monthly goals, I need something a little more direct and to the point, and I like the idea of a bulls-eye suggesting “targets”. I found a clean one, very simple, very easy to see.
After that, I have three very specific ones. The first is for my overall bucket list. This one is a bit quirky, as it is about the “adventure” and trying new things, potentially with some of them not working out quite as planned.
While I’m here, I’ll also mention a related category, which I call “experiences”. I have an image of a whale’s tail, and that reflects a rare experience like going whale watching. Some overlap with bucket list posts, but some don’t.
I also have a separate one for travel, a simple map.
And then I have one specifically for my #50by50 initiative (50 things to do before I turned 50).
Finally, at the end, I wanted one for just “ticking the box” i.e. implementation or progress.
However, just as I have special topics within my big “goals”, I have specific measurement topics too. One is my overall health, divided into two elements with the first being mental health.
Since I’m talking about mental health, I’ll also throw in my “spiritualism” image, reflecting the journey.
The second area is physical health, and I’ll divide that into three sub-areas. The first is general fitness, getting moving. The second is specifically tied to weight loss, and a scale icon works just fine for that, at least traditionally. However, I’m starting a new approach soon that combines the concepts of weight loss, weight-by-age, and gamification, so I’m tweaking the image to add an image of a game die.
That’s a wrap for the category. It’s a lot of sub-images for topics, but as I noted, it is one of the biggest areas of my blog.